Switching Themes on a VIP Site

This document is for VIP customers who:

  • Have an existing WordPress.com VIP site
  • Would like to enable a new theme on their existing site

Why not create a brand new site?
We strongly advise against creating an entirely new WordPress.com VIP instance because this will require a time intensive content migration. Creating a new instance requires exporting content from the old site, adding users to the new site, and then importing content. The quickest path for a redesign is to enable a new theme on the existing site.

1. Kick Off Call

Submit a ticket outlining the important elements of the theme redesign. Please include the following:

  • Scope of the redesign
  • Any major refactoring of the base code
  • New plugins
  • Content manipulation
  • Timeline

Once we receive the ticket, we’ll set up a kickoff call with your team.

2. Get your theme reviewed
If your redesign is mostly frontend or template changes, we strongly recommend the iterative model, where you commit changes through our deploy queue. If this is an entirely new theme, you will need to go through our Theme Review process.

Once the review is complete, your theme will be moved to production and available on your site under Appearance > Themes.

3. Content manipulation
Should your new theme require content manipulation (i.e. taxonomy or custom post type changes), you will most likely need to run scripts to modify the content.

Before running these scripts on a production site, we will set up a pre-production site for you to thoroughly QA the scripts. Once you’ve approved the resulting content, we’ll help you run it on your production site.

In addition to submitting the scripts for review, please also submit the order in which they are supposed to be run.

You could also consider providing starter content within your new WordPress theme, which will help you to set up widgets, content and menus as part of the activation process.

4. Staging

We strongly recommend staging your site using one of our recommended local environments.

5. Maintenance Mode

Should you need to put your site into maintenance mode while switching themes, you can use our Maintenance Mode plugin. When it’s enabled, no public visitors can access your site. Please be sure to test the plugin before launch day.

** Preserving Widgets: Typically, widgets are not preserved at theme switch. It’s best to export options, switch theme, and re-import them.

6. Launch!

Please provide us the time and date of the launch, so that we can schedule VIP developers to be around for any support that’s needed. We will spin up a Stormchat and share that with you to communicate in real-time.

Ready to get started?

Tell us about your needs

Let us lead the way. We’ll help you select a top tier development partner. We’ll train your developers, operations, infrastructure, and editorial teams. We’ll coarchitect your deployment processes. We will provide live support for peak events. We’ll help your people avoid dark alleys and blind corners, and reduce wasted cycles.